Successful Government Professional Development
Professional development training plays a vital role in the growth and success of government employees, and the organization and communities they serve. Just like their private-sector counterparts, for government employees the benefits are clear: professional development helps individual employees identify and achieve short- and long-term goals as they progress through their careers, improves organizational performance in current day-to-day activities as individuals strengthen their respective skill sets and helps organizations align their employee’s skill sets with the overall mission and objectives of the organization.
Government offices can experience a delay in deliverables and may struggle to meet target goals and objectives and a lack of training could be a contributing factor. Productivity can suffer as employees simply lack the correct skills or knowledge to succeed, or never realize that there is a more efficient, faster way to complete work. This can be particularly true in rapidly changing areas, such as technology.
Let’s take a closer look at professional training programs and how they can help government employees.
What is Professional Development?
Professional development is an ongoing process of acquiring new and brushing up existing skills, knowledge, and abilities to enhance job performance, cross-train employees, advance career growth, and improve personal effectiveness. This learning approach can include training programs, workshops, online learning, and self-guided learning opportunities. For government employees, professional development is of particular importance due to the nature and impact of their work in serving the public.
Benefits of Professional Development
Professional development opportunities do more than benefit the individual employee. They also improve the organization. Professional development enables team members to stay up to date on policy changes and other relevant information in the government workspace. Understanding the implications of policy change is vital for effective implementation and public service delivery. Training can also include soft skills, such as leadership development, ethics and compliance training, and even cultural competency and equity training.
These efforts cumulatively raise the performance and effectiveness of the department and multiply exponentially when professional development participation is broadly encouraged. As a result, teams have greater knowledge and can conduct their job duties more efficiently and confidently.
Research Affirms that Personal Development Opportunities are Key to Improving Organizational Health
Studies show that employees who are given the opportunity to engage in personal development tend to have greater job satisfaction, and higher productivity levels, and will stay in their positions longer than those who do not.
A recent Deloitte study affirmed that professional development opportunities are even more critical for developing and maintaining a strong workforce. Among the findings:
- Data from Gallup shows that 48% of American workers would switch to a new job if offered skills training opportunities.
- Almost 30% of respondents in Deloitte’s Global Millennial and Gen Z survey said that learning and development opportunities were the top reason they chose their job.
- The No. 1 factor that workers say defines an exceptional work environment is opportunities to learn and grow, according to LinkedIn data.
This same study also showed that professional development provides an opportunity for existing employees to “reskill” and “upskill.” These types of learning experiences are generally outcome-based, in that attendees are specifically receiving a development opportunity related to a specific goal.
Professional Development Programs Can Be Challenging for Government and Educational Offices
One of the inherent challenges that government and other public-sector offices face is inconsistencies between employee performance review programs and formal employee professional development plans, which often results in a skills gap analysis and recommended professional development remedies. Lacking this structure traditionally, there’s often no requirement that government employees complete continuing education coursework or performance improvement courses. Often resulting in poor employee engagement.
Improving the perceived value of professional development starts at the top. Workforce development departments (WFD) should engage executive management and recruit support for organization professional development. What is the organization’s policy for taking self-improvement training during work hours? How can line managers be engaged so they support training? Who are the stakeholders and how can their concerns be addressed?
This can create the necessary paradigm shift that will encourage managers to schedule on-the-job training time, help them market their training offerings that are relevant to specific training requirements, and create a training plan that will help meet organizational objectives.
Creating a Successful Training Program
Fostering a culture of learning is the first step in creating a successful training program. This requires education, both of leadership and users on the value of the training resource. This can be done by internally marketing the program with customized flyers, a video overview, and engaging emails. Explaining how training will benefit the individual by satisfying job role requirements, compliance, and continuing education, can help to increase organizational buy-in and interest.
Successful professional development is not just about the material being presented. The right delivery framework and support are needed for a successful training program. Government employees are often pressed for time (aren’t we all?), so training must be relevant and available when needed or wanted. Online learning that’s available 24×7 often accommodates this learning style environment.
It’s important to create learning paths that are relevant, engaging, and of interest to employees. By doing so, you’ll create perceived value and a greater degree of employee completion. Enterprise Training Solutions (ETS) offers a vast library of more than 9,000 courses and live webinars that can be matched to the professional development objectives of employees and departments.
Keep offerings manageable – a smaller number of courses that provide relevant subject matter will support long-term information retention. ETS offers the services of an Implementation Specialist to help bundle selected learning assets into customized development paths.
On-Line Training Programming for Government Employees
Fortunately, there’s no need to start from square one when integrating professional development training programs within the public sector. ETS offers an outstanding range of topics, from leadership and professional development and design construction and safety to information technology and compliance and risk management coursework.
For the past 25 years, Enterprise Training Solutions has offered training solutions to the public sector for every department based on job role. Visit https://enterprisetraining.com to learn more.